Paul & Dan discuss the history of what counts as the “standard” die in D&D used for hit dice, damage, miscellaneous checks, and more. Was switching from the six-sided to the eight-sided die really such a great idea?
Various shapes like two-sided or four-sided dice are documented in archaeological findings; for example, from Ancient Egypt and the Middle East. While the cubical six-sided die became the most common type in many parts of the world, other shapes were always known, like 20-sided dice in Ptolemaic and Roman times.
The modern tradition of using sets of polyhedral dice started around the end of the 1960s when non-cubical dice became popular among players of wargames, and since have been employed extensively in role-playing games and trading card games.
This description uses material from the Wikipedia article “Dice“, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.